I have chosen the non-conventional career path of working for myself instead of working for others, and as Award Expert has grown, it has consumed a growing chunk of my time. Even with an excellent team already lending support, growth has been limited by the hours of the day and I am approaching a plateau if I do not bring in more help. I hate turning clients down, but I refuse to provide subpar service—I cannot in good conscience take on your trip if I cannot provide effective, timely, and friendly service to you.
My clients will attest that I do my job well, am responsive, and can almost always find a mileage solution that effectively uses credit card or airline points. But what I do not do well is what is actually most important if I am to earn a living out of this—invoice clients in a timely manner. I have a rudimentary billing system in place and I am looking for someone to specifically take over my bookkeeping while also communicating with clients and performing ad hoc research.
So I am going to shamelessly rip off the job requirements from Lucky with a few tweaks of my own—
Someone who is highly organized. This is the most important element of the position because I am not an organized person. I need someone to stay on top of all open client requests, reconcile my books, invoice clients, follow-up with those who are late to pay, and ensure that every client is promptly cared for. Ideally, I am looking for someone with prior experience in bookkeeping who will not just follow my lead but engineer new solutions for bookkeeping that are more efficient and more effective. Knowledge of QuickBooks is strongly preferred.
Someone who is passionate about travel and miles. I consider myself fortunate to be able to do what I love everyday, and am thrilled that I have been able to surround myself with similarly passionate people. I need someone who loves miles and the opportunities they provide, and wants to share that with others.
Someone who writes and communicates well. Communication is inextricably intertwined with promptness. E-mail will be our primary form of communication and I need someone who will promptly respond to my e-mail instructions and also promptly address client concerns. You must have a strong command of the English language and be able to craft concise responses to clients that are easy for a layperson who has no knowledge about miles and points to understand.
Someone who is reliable and timely. This is not a position with conventional work hours. Award Expert clients come from all over the world and the internet insists on staying up all night, so I need someone who can consistently spend at least an hour or two a day responding to requests, but is also able to spend larger chunks of time as needed. Realistically I need someone who can commit to at least 10-15 hours a week for now, and potentially more in future.
Someone who loves helping people. At some point, only a portion of what we do has anything to do with travel or searching award space. Much of our time is spent exploring options with people, or explaining why other options will not work. I cannot imagine this position would be any fun for someone who does not enjoy teaching and explaining and generally helping others.
Someone who is self-motivated, and able to work independently. Award Expert has no brick and mortar structure—I operate out of my home and you can choose to work anywhere that has telephone and internet connection. I abstain from being a micro-manager, so you must be self-motivated—no procrastinating when I assign a task—you will earn my trust by effectively following the instructions I provide you.
As far as job skills go, my team and I are absolutely willing to train as needed, but the most successful person will be one who:
- Loves numbers and will have no difficulty carefully formulating invoices and ensuring they are properly issued and paid
- Communicates effectively with people on the phone or via the e-mail
- Has a solid understanding of the three major alliances, their carriers, and destinations
- Is familiar with the tools and tricks for searching award-space in at least one alliance, preferably a oneworld or Skyteam
- Is creative, flexible, and solution-oriented
Overall, I am looking for someone who is excited to sink their teeth into something that has tremendous potential, but is also patient (and stable) enough to be able to put up with the limitations and challenges of what is still very much a “start up”.
If this sounds opportunity entices you and you meet the qualifications above, send an email to awardexpert at gmail dot com by Monday, September 9th. Include your resume, a brief cover letter detailing why you believe you are the best fit for the job, and your available start date. No formal education is necessary and you must be able to legally work in the United States. The position will likely begin in October.
This position will be paid on an hourly basis, so please also indicate your desired hourly rate. And I don’t want to sugarcoat this position—it will be frustrating at times and cannot be done in 2-3 consecutive hours each day, but will instead require multiple short bursts of work throughout the day and may require some weekend work.